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Application Architect, Penn Wharton Budget Model

University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Not specified
Date posted
Jun 12, 2024

Application Architect, Penn Wharton Budget Model

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Large Employers in 2023.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Application Architect, Penn Wharton Budget Model

Job Profile Title
Application Architect

Job Description Summary
Wharton School Overview
Founded in 1881 as the world's first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is shaping the future of business by incubating ideas, driving insights, and creating leaders who change the world. With campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco, Wharton has over 850 staff, a faculty population of more than 235 renowned professors, and 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students. Each year, 13,000 professionals worldwide advance their careers through Wharton Executive Education's individual, company-customized, and online programs. More than 104,000 Wharton alumni form a powerful global network of leaders who transform business every day. Wharton is home to a diverse staff population representing a rich array of backgrounds, expertise, and cultures. To learn more, visit

The Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) is a non-partisan, research-based initiative that provides analysis to policymakers to assess the effects of policy on budgetary outcomes (government revenues and costs) and various economic variables. PWBM's work is widely cited and has been influential in many key recent policy discussions, including tax reform, infrastructure, budget reconciliation, pre-K education, paid family leave, universal income, debt, Social Security, and health care. The PWBM team consists of roughly 30 Ph.D. economists, policy analysts, research analysts, software engineers, and developers.

The Application Architect is expected to work on multiple technically challenging problems related to implementation of micro- and macro-economic models to support and enable research and policy analysis conducted by PWBM; make hands-on contributions to the codebase; manage cloud resources; and assist the Director of Engineering and Data on strategic planning and budgeting. Together with the Director, this role is also responsible for building an effective software engineering culture at PWBM, performing a player-coach role primarily for the team of 5 software engineers. The Application Architect also will extend his/her influence to the policy & research functions within PWBM -- i.e., with the economists and analysts -- promoting better software engineering practices. The Application Architect should (a) set the strategy on system architecture and software design with the Director; (b) maintain software quality of PWBM through code reviews, pair programming, mentoring, and training/education; (c) ensure data integrity; and (d) establish various elements of Agile software development practices. He/she should be recognized as the expert software engineer internally and externally.

PWBM uses micro- and macro-economic models to analyze and forecast the impact of policies on budgetary outcomes and other economic variables for policymakers. Large-scale Monte-Carlo simulations are performed with structural microeconomic models, and their results are aggregated into an overlapping generations model for longer-term dynamic forecasting and distributional analysis. Models are frequently updated to reflect the latest economics and empirical research. The PWBM software stack is mostly written in Python. Some of the models require large datasets to calibrate them, and some rely on computationally expensive techniques for forecasts. The strategic goal is to leverage cloud resources to streamline the model development and forecasting processes. The Application Architect will assist the Director of Engineering and Data to foster a modern software engineering culture within PWBM and keep the implementation of the models always available and readily modifiable.

Staff positions at the Penn Wharton Budget Model are funded by external gifts and grants. This position is subject to future continuation of funding sources tied to your position. The position could be terminated if funding sources are discontinued and suitable replacement funding sources, as determined by the faculty director, are not available. This position is subject to renewal every two years at the discretion of the faculty director.

More information about the existing team and projects can be found here:

Job Description

Job Responsibilities
  • Solve challenging architectural and technical problems, including accelerating execution of the code that combines dynamic programming and Monte-Carlo simulations, devising integration solutions across components of the micro- and macro-economic models, and conducting hands-on technical work. The Application Architect will write code to balance performance, readability, maintainability, and security standards. He/she should have deep knowledge of various code acceleration techniques, such as multi-threaded and parallel programming, parallelization frameworks, parallelization frameworks like Dask and Spark, and (just-in-time) compilation to C. Knowledge in extract-transform-load (ETL) pipelines is a plus.
  • Maintain software quality and data integrity by enhancing documentation, reviewing code, pair programming, and, where necessary, providing mentoring and training for economists, data & policy analysts, and software engineers. The Application Architect will provide technical guidance to the Director to support decision-making in areas such as system architecture (e.g. ETL frameworks), cloud services (e.g. AWS primarily but also Azure) and Python packages, software design (e.g. general design principles, such as SOLID, and design patterns), and Python implementation best practices.
  • Implement various elements of Agile software development practices within PWBM, and influence the software development process involving the Ph.D economists and research analysts (as well as software engineers). This includes automated testing, trunk-based development, continuous integration, and continuous delivery.
  • Perform infrastructure management in AWS (and possibly Azure), including setting up services in the cloud following the infrastructure-as-a-code principle.
  • Assist the Director of Engineering and Data in developing strategic plans and budgets for PWBM.
  • Perform additional duties as assigned.

  • Bachelor of Science and 3 to 5 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience is required. A Bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering or economics, plus 5 to 7 years of experience as a software engineer in the industry is strongly preferred.
  • Ability to learn domain knowledge quickly, especially in economics and policy, is required. Interest in economics and the analysis of public policy is preferred.
  • Experience in designing, implementing, and maintaining software in an industry setting is required. Experience with highly numerical software (e.g. code written for data science) is strongly preferred.
  • Experience as a senior software engineer managing software quality and mentoring junior software engineers is required. Experience working with data scientists or economists on a data-science codebase is preferred.
  • Experience working in an Agile software development environment is required. Experience designing or running an Agile software development process is preferred.
  • Experience managing a software development project is a plus.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required. Formal training experience in software engineering is a plus.
  • Experience in managing Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources is required. Experience in other cloud platforms is preferred.
  • A deep knowledge of Python is required.
  • Experience in extract-transform-load (ETL) pipelines is preferred.
  • Knowledge in Python code acceleration techniques and frameworks is preferred.

Application instructions: A cover letter is optional but preferred.

*Position contingent upon continued funding

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hybrid Eligible - This position is eligible for a hybrid work schedule with a work week divided between working onsite and working remotely.

Department / School
Wharton School

Pay Range
$74,476.00 - $190,000.00 Annual Rate
Salary offers are made based on the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

To learn more, please visit:

To apply, visit


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